At least three Americans dead in Turkey earthquake, US says

More than 20,000 people have been killed as US sends response teams and assistance

Powered by automated translation

Follow the latest on the earthquake in Turkey

At least three Americans have been killed in the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria this week, the US State Department said on Thursday.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in the two countries as of Thursday.

"We can confirm reports of at least three US citizens killed in south-eastern Türkiye," a department representative said in an email to The National, not identifying the people.

"Our staff in Türkiye and here in the United States are working tirelessly to provide consular assistance to these victims and their family members."

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the victims and to the families of all of those affected."

State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed the deaths in a briefing.

"Unfortunately, given the scale, given the magnitude of eruption, and ultimately the death toll, I think we are all under the again sombre expectation that that number could rise," Mr Price said.

The US embassy in Turkey has issued updates providing information on evacuation or emergency food and shelter for American citizens affected.

"We are working closely with local authorities and other partner organisations to assist any US citizens in the affected areas," the State Department said.

US helicopters are helping rescue personnel, Mr Price said.

More than 150 US teams to assist with search and rescue have been sent.

Mr Price said that US-funded humanitarian and medical organisation the White Helmets have "pulled more than 1,000 survivors" in Syria.

Essential humanitarian aid has been sent to affected communities.

Members of Turkish and Syrian communities in the US have reacted to the earthquake with concern for people they may know, and with action to help from afar.

The US has committed to ongoing support and assistance as the countries climb out of wreckage.

"We'll have more to say in the coming days as we emerge from the urgent search-and-rescue phase of operations," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Updated: February 10, 2023, 6:46 AM